Most South Asian countries still suffer from colonial-era legislation, which considers homosexuality “an offence against the order of nature”. In the last decade, the region has witnessed some progress in recognizing the rights of the LGBTQI+ community. Most South Asian countries are now making progress in guaranteeing peoples’ sexual orientation and gender identity (expression) (SOGI(E)) rights. However, societal attitudes towards sexual and gender non-conforming people have not changed.
To address these issues, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) South Asia conceptualized “Born with Pride” in 2020. The project aims to increase visibility for communities from South Asian countries and provide an international platform to engage in conversations with community experts. Given the overwhelmingly positive response, we organized a Visual Art Competition to support the community. The FNF invited members of the LGBTQI+ community to participate and portray the inner battles they face in their daily lives. Out of more than 50 applicants, the three-member panel selected and rated the best entries portraying the inner battles of the LGBTQI+ community.
Second Place: Form of Discrimination, by Aaditya Rai, Nepal
“An orphan. A gay man with a disability. A burn survivor. That’s me. This piece of work is a personification of who I am and what struggles I have been through. Throughout my childhood as an orphan, I faced all forms of bullying; being called nicknames, suffered from sexual harassment and discrimination. The red color symbolizes femininity, the hand and dark body color symbolizes my real physicality. My spirit is free and the different hand positions signify the intersectionality of my limitations and how I have overcome each one of them with pride.”